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Cover Story | April 2018

Smart meters can pare AT&C losses

<span style="font-weight: bold;">Ashish Tandon, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Landis+Gyr India</span> <br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">With micro solutions scattered across regions, will smart grids witness a turnaround?</span><br /> Until last 10 years, we were a power deficient country. We did not have enough power to serve our citizens. Now, we are not only a power surplus country, but are now talking of exporting power. In addition, India is becoming a major renewable hub with solar contributing lion's share. Although we thought the renewable, especially solar, will pick up, it was a slow progress owing to high capex. Here, the government is looking at a lot of subsidies to be given to all promoters and solar PV modules manufacturers. Importantly, with so much of influx of energy from various source of energy that is 175 GW of renewable and more than 25 GW of thermal power projects which are in various stages of construction, how do you integrate those with the grids? I think, here, smart grids have a major role to play.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">How will implementation of smart grid enhance quality of power?</span><br /> Smart grid is simply a well-connected grid. As part of a smarter grid, the grids will be self-healing, which will enable more reliable power distribution. Utilities will be able to detect outages before the user notices and will be able heal the same faster. This will benefit the common population of India, as with more reliable distribution and the public will get better power.<br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">Smart meter is also another area which is picking up mainly due to its efficient and effective energy management...</span><br /> Yes, that's correct. We are very active in advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), which is one of the core activities of Landis+Gyr. For instance, of 100-per cent smart grid business, AMI contributes 65 per cent. Worldwide, more than 300 million smart meters have been installed, and in India we have installed base of roughly around 50 million plus. Meanwhile, Tata Power-DDL, which distributes electricity in the north of Delhi, serves a population of 7 million with a customer base of 1.6 million people. It has been the frontrunner in implementing power distribution reforms and is dedicated to using technological innovation to better serve its customers. We have been roped in by&nbsp; Tata Power distribution to rollout an AMI of this size and significance, comprising smart meters and related infrastructure, will certainly provide the vital backbone for Tata Power-DDL's customers to reap the benefits of the smart energy revolution.<br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">How can India eliminate electricity losses with AMI? </span><br /> The main advantage of installing smart meter is it's a two-way communication process wherein through smart meters all the utilities in India will be updated with the data in terms of usages, theft (if any), electricity consumption etc, and can act accordingly. The usage of smart meters will also help utilities to enhance their revenue stream. That is why major private discoms like Tata are opting for AMI. <br /> <br /> Currently, most of the utilities are doing their due from the data they have received from AMIs, and are taking action against theft. With smart grids complementing AMI, utilities will have all the necessary data with them to act upon. Now, with smart meters installed, the utilities will be able to identify theft areas and can take necessary actions against those responsible. Utilities will get the data from smart meter online without going anywhere. We are going to put up a network which will be continuously sending data to the head software of data of utilities. Here, the utilities can filter data which will lead to swift action. This will put some amount of fear in the customer base, which is known for their theft, and with this, the loss will also come down. Besides, all meters have connect and disconnect facility. A staff from utility need not go to the consumer to disconnect. The utility can disconnect meter from their laptop. With AMIs, utilities as well as consumers are benefitted. Here, with advanced technology, the consumers can track their electricity consumption on a real-time basis. With this, the consumer can monitor and then control the use of appliances and units. <br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">How do you decide on the most viable application for consumers?</span><br /> At Landis+Gyr, we go through the baseline data of discoms (AT&amp;C losses, operation efficiency, input power management and consumer engagement status); the current electrical network and geographical terrain of the discom project area to decide communication technology and network design; peak load management through demand response management and load forecasting for short-term and long-term contract through IEX; part prepayment considering all the prepayment logic at account level at server and not inside the meter in case of prepayment is also part of one of the use case of AMI; and we propose smart transformation of all of the above business processes through information, communication and operation technology to discoms with the right ecosystem partnership who are able to provide system SLAs to achieve business SLAs through AMI platform.<br />
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